Setting himself on a small cushion Aki unfurled the scroll and bent over to read “Doton or Earth Release is one of the five basic nature transformations. Earth Release encompasses any earthen material, from dirt to stone to clay, and often entails changing one to another for a range of offensive and defensive techniques”. Aki sighed and skipped ahead a little staring again further down the scroll
“For most Earth Release jutsu, users place their hands on the ground and use their chakra to alter its form. Less commonly, users create earth within their bodies, which they eject from their mouth or palms. Earth release techniques are commonly associated with the snake hand seal” Rolling his eyes Aki skipped ahead even further, unfolding a larger length of the scroll “come on teach me something I don’t know” Aki resumed reading
“Simpler applications of Doton involve making rapid changes to the terrain around the user. Offensively, Earth Release can be clumped together for use as a projectile or reshaped to create hazards for enemies. Targets can be trapped by creating a rock dome around them or a muddy pit that they sink into. Defensively, earth can be raised around the user as a fortification against attack, Earth-Style Wall being one of the more common options. Alternatively, Earth Release users can burrow underground in order to escape harm or initiate attacks form below. - Ok now we are getting somewhere” Aki skipped further down.
“Earth Release: Moving Core, Seals in order are as follows Hare, Ra- , Snake” Aki peered closer at the smudge on the scroll “Ram or rat? Oh well lets try anyway” Sitting up straight Aki flexed his fingers and took a deep breath in. “Ok, Hare, Rat, Snake, Doton Movi- shit” the earth beneath Aki’s feet churned and vanished in a poof of chakra dropping Aki into a narrow pit 5m deep with a loud crash.
Aki brushed the dust off himself and looked around, the tight pit was too narrow for him to tree walk and the earth was infused with his chakra. Groaning and sighing Aki raised his head and yelled “Can someone help me please, Im stuck”
Natsuki was not one such kid. Spurred on by a mix of boredom, curiosity, and the seek of thrill, the Kage's sister found herself amidst the Desert Gardens, talking to the most popular shinobi location in all of Haven. Today they were full of Chuunin tough as iron, arrogant Jonin, and bold young Genin, sometimes even grizzled sellswords.
But there was one person who stood out in particular. The most interesting thing about him was his hair. He had none. A young genin was struggling, with his ninjutsu training, elemental one for that matter. Ayato's words echoed in her head. "Your gifts don't belong to you; they belong to those who seek help." If she did not share what she knew, she would never hear the end of it from her brother.
"Perhaps I can be of assistance." Said Natsuki as she stood in front of the shinobi. "What's your name?"
Aki looked up seeing a silver haired woman looking down at him from above his pit “Umm yeah I could do with some help I think I got a hand sign wrong”. Staring a little closer Aki froze “N-Natsuki Hyuuga?” realisation set in as struck him that had just been caught stuck in a pit by the Hogokages sister. “I-I sorry my lady, yes would love some assistance yes, one moment, I can fix this” Aki awkwardly sat back down in his pit and straightened up the scroll on his lap.
“Ok Aki don’t fuck up you can do this” taking a deep breath “Hare Ram Snake go” he muttered under his breath before slapping the ground causing a plinth to rise underneath him slowly filling his pit back in until he released the jutsu sitting in front of the woman
Aki stood and smiled “Thanks for your help, I was worried I would be stuck there for a while” Aki dusted off his shirt and shorts before facing the well-dressed lady “Apologies for being rude, My name is Aki Yamanaka” he said giving a short bow as he did. As introductions go this could have been a better one. Still if she was offering Aki could do with all the help he could get.
“The scrolls a little old and I’m rather new to this, would you mind helping me with the basics Natsuki-sama?” Aki inwardly winced hoping the honorific went down ok. He looked to the Hyuugas grey eyes for approval.
A wide smile went into her lips before her slender finger begins to submerge underneath the earth before disappearing entirely. She would re-emerge a minute later, 10 meters away. She waved a hand.“Here, Aki.” Said Natsuki and dusted the dirt off her red leggings. Assuming that the bald Genin had approached, Natsuki would begin to explain how the jutsu work.
“This was hiding like a mole. Shinobi use it to burrow themselves underneath the earth, usually for espionage or perhaps to ambush someone. Others use for disengage as they send shadow clones more to fight their opponents as they hideaway. Why don’t you give it a try? It feels no different than swimming once you get used to it."
Taking a deep breath Aki centred himself, calming his nerves, this would need focus. “Ok lets just take it easy - seals first” Aki closed his eyes and mimed the seals with his hands getting a feel for the motions. Opening his eyes he looked to Natsuki “Ok I am going to try it”. Drawing forth his chakra, Aki quickly finished the seals, and then inwardly panicked as his feet and ankles began to sink into the dirt floor.
“Its just like swimming - Its just like swimming - Its just like swimming” Aki engaged his swimming brain, held his breath, and dived into the ground immersing himself in the earth.
The sensation of being underground was odd, Aki felt near weightless, yet also very heavy, pushing with his feet he moved forward through the Earth as if it was liquid “Is this what ghosts feel like” Aki thought.
He was also aware of another sense, one that felt natural yet new, he could see through the earth, he could see Natsuki in the training room waiting for him, he could feel the heavy scroll library shelves resting on the ground, he could even sense the people moving around in the next room setting up sparring matts. His sight was one with the earths, a second sight within his mind.
Grinning like an idiot Aki played with his new jutsu, swimming around freely in the dirt, nosing into all the adjacent rooms with his newfound earth senses. After a short while Aki was aware of a familiar pressure as the justsu was beginning to tire him so he turned and ‘swam’ over towards Natsuki.
A wicked and mischievous thought crossed his mind, the components for a most excellent prank had just landed in his lap and from his current position Natsuki was an easy target. “Its just training he-he” sliding around just under Natsuki Aki drove his feet and chakra into the ground erupting from the earth behind her in a flash
If he had remained that sweet, kind-hearted young man, she knew when they were growing up. Standing up to Kaede, a bully their eldest brother. But a brother they had lost nonetheless. Four children had come from the loins of Hobart Hyuuga, and Natsuki was the least of them all.
But she would not lose, to any of her male siblings, the dead or the living. She would play her role and lift by helping others rise. That was her.
She opened her Byakugan to per underground movement of bald Genin. In case he required assistance or appeared to be suffocating under the mud-caked earth. Instead, the boy made to move towards her. The realization came for Natsuki a second too late. Suppose she would play along.
When he popped from the earth like a mall in an attempt to jump scare her, Natsuki shrieked half in fear and half in laugher.
“You buffoon! Please don’t scare me like that!" she said with a smile wide and bright until it froze. “What are you doing to my sister, cueball?” The imposing figure of the golden-haired Toneri Hyuuga loomed behind Aki and since he was not on the joke had most
“Wait, Toneri, he!” Natsuki moved, but her brother raised his hand. “I didn’t ask you, Natsuki. I asked him.” He said, his inhumanly green eyes examining the Yamanaka scion.
Aki Yamanaka likes this post
Aki, had sensed a person approaching using his newfound earth sense before he had launched the ambush, but never did he think for a minute that it would be Toneri Hyuuga. Aki turned to face him and quickly weighed up his options, none looked to appealing but Natsuki was somewhat on his side so he picked the best one he had
Honesty, followed by humility, adding healthy seasoning of flattery, finishing with hiding behind Natsuki
“I have been receiving Lady Nasukes expert training on earth style techniques, under her masterful guidance I have even managed to launch ambushes using the hiding like a mole technique”
Aki kept an eye on Toneris face looking for any reading on the young hyuuga, delivering a short bow he continued.
“Lady Natsuki mentioned it was one of the many uses of the jutsu, no harm was intended, and it was simply a training exercise”
Aki lifted his head and continued
“I have learned much from your sister, Lady Nasuki is a talented teacher and I feel honoured to be her pupil"
Standing straight he looked at Toneri again and shuffled a foot back before stopping. Aki was never a proud individual, but for one of the first times in his life, Aki grew a spine deciding to ditch the hide behind Natsuki part of the original plan. Squaring up to the Hyuuga Aki blankly stated:
“My lord if I may correct your misunderstanding, my name is Aki Yamanaka, and I take no small offense at being addressed otherwise”
Ayato Hyuuga likes this post
“Listen to me Aki Yamanaka. I’ve heard from you. You are a wash-up, a guardsman that found his way into the service of the village mainly because of the last name you bear. If it weren’t for that, you’d still be rotting in the reserves instead of messing with my sister.”
Toneri said in his best attempt to sound like Ayato, albeit her brother, despite being blunt, was never that aggressive.
“ Is that really necessary, Toneri?” Natsuki was aghast at her brother’s cruelty yet tried to approach the situation as calmly as she could.
“It doesn’t make it any less true.” The golden Hyuuga responded before giving the Yamanaka, who had squared up to him, a look full of poison.
“So no, your name will stay cueball. If you let the names others give you affect you, instead of brushing it off. I’m curious how you will fare when a lowlife missing ninja throws a kunai to your face. And if you want people to know you by your name, you must earn their respect first.” He said, looking around at the holes and the modified ground from the excessive use of the dot on the element. “And I’ll give you a hint; playing with the mud alone will not suffice.” He finished.
The pause probably continued for long enough to make it awkward before Aki spoke,
“Lord Toneri, I understand you intervened because you wished to defend your sister, which is admirable albeit needless as she was in no danger so I will overlook your earlier slight”
“It is fortunate that your brother is Hogokage, had the post fallen to you I suspect we would have been beset by enemies in the hundreds if this is how you address those around you”
“I will now return to my training, sir, as you have made quite clear I have to make substantial progress if I am to succeed in my newfound station. I don’t have time to waste on those who don’t offer help”
Aki turned to Natsuki and bowed his head
“I apologise, for not taking this as seriously as I should have Lady Natsuki. If you are still willing I would honoured if I could continue to learn from you”
“I assure you if I was the Kage and we found ourselves surrounded by these enemies; I’d take care of them myself. No craven starts a war.”
She was afraid that Toneri would fly off the handle and, in turn, send the Yamanaka scion flying with a vacuum palm. Yet instead, Toneri smiled, that smile that cut deep as a knife.
“Quite the wordsmith you found yourself training today, Natsuki.” Said The Golden Hyuuga, who did not share Natsu’s excitement for teaching the young. “If you were a true shinobi, I’d hurt you for that. But bright roar is too fine the blade to besmirch in weaklings blood.”
He said, placing a hand on his sword hilt, the pommel shaped like a lion's head, two ruby lions for eyes, shining with fiery red color. Toneri loved that blade, too much for his own good. It was said to be able to match legendary weapons in power, according to her twin brother. The medieval sword with the crucifix hilt was personally reforged by Mercurio Stamatis, the master armorer from the land of birds with the big house at the end of the street of Iron.
“If you want my help. If any Genin wants help from a superior, they can bloody well ask for it.” He finished and waited for Aki’s response. Natsuki was on high alert in case this went south and needed to intervene; they were two meters away in a direct line from each other. With Natsuki to Aki’s right and one meter behind him.